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Love freely given

December 2003

My name is Yuan Lei (Lilian) and I come from China. I am studying pharmacology at the University of Sheffield. I would like to share with you my experience of becoming and growing as a Christian.

I first heard about the Lord Jesus Christ in China, when I was 18 years old. And it was an English lady called Wendy whose kindness and hospitality first attracted my attention. Wendy is teaching English in the medical college of Lan Zhou.

My home province, Gan Su, is one of the poorest areas in China. A lot of talented students are unable to complete their studies because of poverty.

Wendy supported some of the students financially to enable them to realise their dream of becoming doctors – who are badly needed in Gan Su especially in the countryside. She also helped a blind beggar whom she met on the street to learn physiotherapy – to relieve the pain of other people.

She writes to prisoners just to let them know that there is still someone who cares for them. She uses all she has to help people in need, giving her love freely to everyone she meets.

Does God exist?

I could not help asking her one day, ‘How can you always be so kind to everyone? I would like to be like you’. She smiled and said to me, ‘It is not me, but my heavenly Father, who loves and takes care of us all’.

Then she told me that the Bible is a book which tells us about God and his love. We started to read the Bible together, and we prayed that the Holy Spirit would give me an understanding of its words.

However, I was brought up and educated in China, and my understanding of life was largely influenced by communism and the evolutionary hypothesis.

As we studied the Bible, I realised that there were a lot of things in the Scriptures that were different from what I had been taught; for example, that the beginning of the world was by God’s creation, not evolution.

The existence of God was a vital point for me to accept, and it later led me to an understanding of his love and salvation through Jesus Christ.

Grace from God

For the first time, I questioned my biology lessons. I did some reading around this topic, and found that there were actually many different hypotheses available, each supported by its own evidence. Evolution is just one of them – probably more widely accepted than others, but not necessarily the truth.

Once I got over this barrier, I started to appreciate God’s love and mercy in our lives: how he kindly provides us with everything we need to live on; how he resembles the good shepherd who left the 99 sheep to look for the only lost one; how he saves us from sin and sets us free through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

God gave me a great desire in my heart to become one of his children and to be with him. I simply responded to that desire and put my trust in Jesus.

Since then my life has changed greatly. I rejoice in the forgiveness of my sins, realising that it is far better to live in a close relationship with God and follow his footstep. I have learnt to love others as Christ loves me.

My family and friends, some of whom are members of the Communist Party, all respect my belief as a Christian.

I gradually discovered that Wendy is just one of many Christians living a godly life – their grace comes from God and they are encouraged and guided by his words in the Bible.

In the church I attend in Sheffield, I met many Christian friends who offered me the same kindness as Wendy. I am trying to follow their examples and to be like Jesus.

My experience tells me that God is like a kind father waiting all the time for his children to return. Pray and trust in him through faith in Jesus Christ, ‘who loved me and gave himself for me’ (Galatians 2:20).

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